NABOKV-L post 0017629, Tue, 27 Jan 2009 23:57:07 -0200

Re: QUERY & THOUGHT: Fahles Feuer, Citing the List, Todd Rd
M.Roth on Dieter Zimmer's annotated Fahles Feuer [...]"He admires Boyd's theory, but doesn't buy it, in part because to assert a massive intervention by ghostly directors takes too much autonomy away from the individual artist, whose autonomy VN prized above all else [...] I was interested to see that DZ cited posts to the listserv throughout his notes [...]On the other hand, there is material in the footnotes which I think could be traced back to a discovery on the listserv but DZ doesn't acknowledge a source. This got me to thinking about the challenge of this forum in terms of giving credit where credit is due[...].Certainly discoveries of allusions and sources should be cited, but what about basic insights about, or interpretations of, VN's books[...] I wonder if anyone has a rule of thumb when it comes to citing the list. And do we believe that Nabokovians (whether listmembers or not) have an obligation to be familiar with the contents of the list? What are our obligations exactly?"

JM: D.Zimmer, according to MR, doesn't want to "assert a massive intervention by ghostly directors," in PF, thereby indicating a respect for the autonomy of the individual artist ( even when we take into account the fact that the ghostly directors are also created by the artist, I suppose).
Scholars are not necessarily "artists," and yet, their autonomy is equally precious - should we consider that there are (apparently) converging ideas and conclusions people may reach independently.
I'm glad MR is not inquiring about obligations and rules for the VN-list, only for scholars.

Sandy Klein informs listmembers about "John Updike, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, whose jeweled prose and quicksilver intellect made him for decades one of America's foremost literary figures, died today. He was 76."
(URL: )

One of Updike's words about VN mentions his "ecstatic writing" ( and Updike's own responsiveness to it).
Last week, while I read Anna Akhmátova's articles about Púchkin ( in particular, the one dated April 20, 1947), I remembered Updike's assessment and compared it to VN's passionate dedication to Púchkin when, at least in the eyes of A.A, Púchkin had been an atheist on the matter of happiness ( he was unable to put faith in it, cf.his letter to P.A.Óssipova quoted by AA).
AA considers that, for Púchkin, death only became a menace when it intervened to cut short a moment of happiness. She quoted other similar unburdenings from his correspondence to Pletniov and Viázemskaia, also from a letter to A.Petrovna Kern, before she concluded that Púchkin feared happiness in the same way that other people fear a disgrace, that he trembled with its imminent appearance because happiness announced its impending, perhaps immediate, loss. For her Púchkin's entire experience and feelings are expressed throughout his work.
Unable to reach any conclusion of my own, I can only register that VN's verbal celebratory and open-hearted acceptance of joy, and his sufferings and losses as well, became even more mysterious, intense and enchanting by this contrast. And also to register my sorrow related to Updike's demise.

Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies:
Visit "Nabokov Online Journal:"

Manage subscription options: